How Range Rover has persevered the luxury SUV race

How Range Rover has persevered the luxury SUV race
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The Reigning & Defending

For over 45 years, the Land Rover brand has championed one luxury vehicle that has never diminished in acclaim – an accomplishment that few in the automotive industry have been able to replicate. Warranted by an insatiable demand in the 1960s for more SUVs, Land Rover released the original Range Rover in 1970, whose formula has never necessitated a drastic deviation from its desirable fundamental traits, spawning evolutions such as the Range Rover Sport and Range Rover Evoque.

Having conquered exacting odysseys like the Darien Gap expedition, Sahara expedition, London-Sydney Marathon and Paris-Dakar rally, this is the fourth generation of the British-made Range Rover. The iconic and innovative all-wheel-drive maven continually adopts new automotive technology while retaining a distinctive visage, which advances with the times, but nevertheless remains unmistakably Range Rover.

Having put in their place numerous rival carmakers who had wanted in on the luxury SUV pie, the Range Rover prides itself on a desirability and heritage, unofficially endorsed by celebrities like Al Pacino, Eva Longoria, Heidi Klum, and Michael Phelps.

For almost half a century, besides possessing unparalleled elegance when negotiating both tarmac and unforgiving soil conditions, the Range Rover has effortlessly straddled both the luxury and off-road markets. A champion of two opposite ends of the automotive spectrum, the Range Rover had its latest incarnation unveiled in March 2015 at the New York International Auto Show. A handsome steed dressed in duo-tone paintwork and thoughtful detailing, the new Range Rover is powered by a 335bhp supercharged V6 engine.

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“To many owners, the design of the Range Rover has become something of an icon," says Gerry McGovern, design director and chief creative officer of Land Rover Design Director, on the car’s trademark grille, floating roof, side fender vents and clamshell bonnet. “Our goal with the new product was to retain that distinctive spirit, but with a thoroughly modern interpretation of Range Rover design cues." Its new all-aluminium monocoque chassis is 40% lighter than its predecessor, which translates to greatly reduced fuel consumption and CO2 emissions.

Not just a pretty face, the current rendition of this stalwart also packs the fabled toughness of its lineage, and then some. With the V6-powered petrol model able to sprint from zero to 100km/h in 7.4 seconds, this amphibian from the English countryside boasts a wading depth that has jumped from 200mm to a startling 900mm. In terms of towing power, it touts a 3,500kg trailer capability. These among many all-terrain outdoor-proof strong suits were tested over 18 months in 20 different countries.

The onboard computer technology incorporated into the current Range Rover includes its famed Terrain Response 2 system, which rapidly and continually analyses and adapts to varying driving conditions, as well as the Adaptive Dynamics system, which makes observations and calculations 500 times a second. Quantified as the most aerodynamic Range Rover by far, its two-speed transfer box and electronic traction control system complement a slew of smart self-drive innovations, including Intelligent Emergency Braking, Blind Spot Monitoring and a Surround Camera System.

Step into the legendary driver’s seat where numerous speed records have been broken, including clocking speeds of over 100mph for 24 hours. Started by keyless controls, its spacious and opulently finished cockpit is customisable with premium upgrade options and charms with a Meridian surround sound system accentuated by LED mood lighting. Select your entertainment and driving options via its 8-inch touch screen and depress its responsive accelerator. The intoxicatingly smooth ride that you enjoy is borne of the diligence of state-of-the-art dampers, while the meticulous attention paid to the details of this multi-sensory experience reverberate throughout this seductively engaging drive.

Land Rover

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Published 21st December 2016
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